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Best Fishing Lakes In Tennessee

Best Fishing Lakes In Tennessee

on November 08, 2022

Do you love fishing? If so, Tennessee is the place for you! The Volunteer State has some of the best fishing lakes in the country. Whether you are a beginner or a pro, there is a lake waiting for you to reel in that big one.

In this blog post, we will discuss some of the best fishing lakes in Tennessee and what makes them so special. So grab your rod and tackle box and let's get started!

The 9 Best Fishing Lakes in Tennessee

Spring is here, which means it's time to dust off the old fishing rod and enjoy some of the best fishing that Tennessee has to offer. While there are plenty of great places to cast your line in the Volunteer State, here are these 9 lakes that are sure to give you a reel good time:

1. Reelfoot Lake
Reelfoot Lake

Reelfoot Lake is a 15,000-acre fishing haven in northwest Tennessee. It was formed by the 1811-12 New Madrid earthquakes, which created a series of seismic waves that permanently flooded a large area of the Mississippi River Valley.

The average depth is 5.5 feet with a max depth of 18 feet. This makes it ideal for a wide range of fishing styles and techniques.

There are plenty of coves and bays to explore, and the lake is well known for its bass, crappie fishing, catfish, and bluegill populations. Whether you're a beginner or a pro, Reelfoot Lake is sure to please you.

2. Watts Bar Lake
Watts Bar Lake

Watts Bar Lake is one of the best fishing lakes in Tennessee. The lake has a maximum depth of 108 feet and covers about 39,090 acres.

The lake is home to a variety of fish including largemouth bass, catfish, crappie, and trout. The lake also has a healthy population of wildlife including deer, squirrels, and birds. 

Fishing is not the only thing that Watts Bar Lake is good for. The lake is also a popular destination for swimming, boating, and water sports. 

If you are looking for a fun place to spend a day or two, then Watts Bar Lake is the perfect place for you.

3. Douglas Lake
Douglas Lake

Douglas Lake is one of the largest Tennessee Valley Authority reservoirs. Douglas Lake is a 43.1-mile-long reservoir in East Tennessee. The average depth is 5.5 feet, with a max depth of 140 feet. Douglas Lake is particularly popular for bass fishing tournaments.

Douglas Lake offers some of the best fishing in Tennessee, with ample fishing opportunities for all types of anglers. The lake is well known for its largemouth bass fishing, with much championship-caliber fish being caught each year.

Smallmouth bass is also plentiful in Douglas Lake and offers an exciting challenge for anglers looking to catch a true trophy fish. Crappie and bluegill can be caught in large numbers near structures such as docks and boat docks, making them perfect for beginner anglers.

Catfish can be caught practically anywhere on the lake and provide a great opportunity for those looking to catch a big fish.

4. Percy Priest Lake
Percy Priest Lake

Percy Priest Lake is another one of the best fishing lakes in Tennessee. The lake offers ample opportunities for boating, swimming, camping, and of course, fishing. Percy Priest Lake is home to many species of fish, including large and smallmouth bass, crappie, catfish, and trout fishing heats. 

Percy Priest Lake is located in Nashville, Tennessee, and is the perfect spot for fishing. The lake has an average depth of 29 feet and a max depth of 100 feet, making it a great place for bass anglers of all skill levels.

Additionally, with about 14,200 surface acres, there is plenty of room to find a quiet spot to fish.

5. Nickajack Lake
Nickajack Lake

Looking for a great place to fish in Tennessee? Nickajack Lake definitely delivers! This beautiful lake boasts great catfish fisheries, and the max depth is an impressive 140 feet.

At about 7,000 acres, there's plenty of space to explore - and plenty of fish to catch! So why is Nickajack Lake one of the best fishing lakes in Tennessee? Well, for starters, the catfish population is really healthy. The lake is also well-stocked with other types of fish, including bass, crappie, and bream.

And if you're lucky enough to snag a big one, there's a fish cleaning station on-site so you can get it ready for dinner! So whether you're a seasoned angler or just getting started, Nickajack Lake is sure to provide a great day of fishing.

6. Center Hill Lake
Center Hill Lake

If you're looking for the best fishing lake in Tennessee, look no further than Center Hill Lake. With a max depth of 190 feet and over 18,200 acres of surface area, it's one of the largest lakes in the state. And because it's located in middle Tennessee, it's easily accessible from all parts of the state. 

But size isn't the only thing that makes Center Hill Lake great for fishing. It's also home to a variety of fish species, including bass, catfish, and crappie. So whether you're an experienced angler or just getting started, you're sure to find success on Center Hill Lake. 

In addition to being a great place to fish, Center Hill Lake is also a popular spot for swimming, boating, and camping. So whether you're looking to relax or have an adventure, Center Hill Lake is the perfect place for you.

7. Cherokee Lake
Cherokee Lake

Cherokee Lake is located in northeastern Tennessee and offers anglers a chance to catch bass, catfish, trout, and walleye. With a max depth of 180 feet and an average depth of 30 feet, Cherokee Lake is one of the deepest lakes in the state. It's also one of the largest, with a surface area of nearly 28,780 acres. 

But what makes Cherokee Lake truly special is its variety of fish. Anglers can find largemouth and smallmouth bass, crappie, walleye, catfish, and more.

In fact, Cherokee Lake is consistently ranked as one of the best bass fishing lakes in the country. So whether you're a seasoned fisherman or just getting started, Cherokee Lake is sure to offer a great experience.

8. Norris Lake
Norris Lake

Norris Lake is another top destination for bass fishing, but it also offers excellent opportunities to catch walleye, trout, and Crappie.

Norris Lake is one of the best fishing lakes in Tennessee. It is 180 feet at its deepest and has an average depth of 11 feet. The lake spans about 34,000 acres. Norris Lake is home to a variety of fish, including largemouth bass, smallmouth bass, black crappie, white crappie, channel catfish, flathead catfish, bluegill, and rainbow trout.

The lake's clear waters and scenic views make it a popular destination for fishing and boating. Fishing is allowed year-round on Norris Lake, and there are several boat ramps and marinas that provide access to the lake. Whether you're an experienced angler or just getting started, Norris Lake is sure to provide a memorable fishing experience.

9. Kentucky Lake
Kentucky Lake

Kentucky Lake is one of the best fishing lakes in Tennessee. It is about 160,000 acres with a max depth of 75 feet. The lake is perfect for fishing enthusiasts because of its many features. 

Some of the fish that can be found in the lake include bass, catfish, and crappie. The lake also has several marinas where fishermen can buy bait and rent boats. In addition, there are numerous restaurants and hotels near the lake for fishermen to stay at. 

 Kentucky Lake is the perfect place for a fishing trip because it has everything that a fisherman needs.

Benefits of Fishing in Tennessee Lakes

The benefits of fishing in Tennessee Lakes are plentiful. Some of the top reasons to fish at this lake include the following:

1. There are a variety of fish to be caught in Tennessee lakes, making it an enjoyable experience for fishermen of all skill levels.

2. The scenery and landscapes surrounding Tennessee lakes make for beautiful surroundings while fishing.

3. Tennessee lakes are often less crowded than fishing at other popular destinations, providing a more peaceful experience.

4. The climate in Tennessee is generally mild, which makes fishing a year-round activity in many locations.

5. Many of the lakes in Tennessee are well-stocked with fish, providing plenty of opportunity for a successful catch.

6. Fishing in Tennessee lakes can be enjoyed by individuals of all ages, making it a perfect family activity.

7. There are numerous campgrounds and RV parks located near Tennessee lakes, making it easy to enjoy a full day or weekend of fishing.

What do you need for Fishing in Tennessee Lakes?

Fishing License

If you want to fish in Tennessee, the first thing you'll need is a valid fishing license sales. You can purchase a license online through the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency website or at any one of TWRA's license agents located around the state. A fishing license will cost you $34.50 for residents and $55 for non-residents, and it will be valid for one year from the date of purchase 

Fishing Rod and Reel

Of course, you can't go fishing without the best fishing rod and reel. If you don't already have your own, don't worry—you can easily purchase a rod and reel combo at any sporting goods store or online retailer.

Just be sure to choose a combo that's appropriate for the type of fish you're hoping to catch. For example, if you're planning on doing some bass fishing, you'll want a heavy-duty rod and reel combo that can handle big fish.

Bait and Tackle

Other things you'll need bait and tackle. Once again, this is something that you can easily purchase at any sporting goods store or online retailer.

Live bait is often considered the best option for catching fish, but artificial lures can work just as well—it really just depends on personal preference. As far as tackle goes, hooks, weights, and line are essential—everything else is just icing on the cake.

Fishing Licenses

In order to fish in Tennessee, both residents and non-residents must have a valid fishing license. You can purchase one online through the Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency or at any authorized license agent. You can also purchase a 1-day or 7-day non-resident license if you'll only be in the state for a short time.

Fishing Regulations

There are certain regulations you'll need to follow in order to fish legally in Tennessee. For instance, there's a limit on how many fish you can keep as well as how big they can be. The regulations vary depending on the type of fish, so be sure to check before you head out.


Of course, you'll need some basic equipment before you can start fishing. At a minimum, you'll need a rod and reel, some line, some hooks, and some bait. If you're not sure what kind of bait to use, your local tackle shop will be able to help you out, and if you read more about fishing types of equipment so check the top 10 fishing gadgets for any kind of fishing.


Tennessee is home to tens of thousands of acres of lakes, making it a great destination for fishing enthusiasts. If you’re looking for the best fishing lakes in Tennessee, consider checking out the above list.

Each lake offers something unique in terms of fish species and scenery, so you’re sure to find the perfect spot for a day (or more) of fishing fun. So what are you waiting for? Grab your tackle box and head to Tennessee for some unforgettable fishing memories.

Question and Answer

What are the Best Fishing Lakes in Tennessee?

The best fishing lakes in Tennessee vary depending on what type of fish you're trying to catch. For example, if you're looking for largemouth bass, then Percy Priest Lake is a great option. Reelfoot Lake is another great option for trout fishing and it is also called crappie Lake. If you're looking for a variety of different fish species, then Cherokee Lake is a good choice. And finally, if you're looking to catch catfish, then the Tennessee River is your best bet.

What are the best fishing lakes in Tennessee for bass? 

For Striped bass, the best fishing lakes in Tennessee include Kentucky Lake, Norris Lake, Dale Hollow reservoir Lake, and Lake Barkley. All of these lakes are known for their large populations of bass and offer great fishing opportunities.

How do I get a fishing license in Tennessee?

You can purchase a fishing license online at or from a variety of retail outlets across the state. Licenses cost $11 for residents and $34 for non-residents. 


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